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Borussia Monchengladbach kicked off their new Bundesliga campaign with a 1-0 home win over rivals Cologne thanks to Nico Elvedi's 49th-minute strike.

The hosts started brightly at Borussia-Park with Thorgan Hazard, Raffael and Lars Stindl all going close early on, although Jhon Cordoba also threatened for the visitors on two occasions before the break.

However, Borussia finished the half strongly with Elvedi and Hazard both passing up late chances.

They eventually took the lead four minutes into the second half when Elvedi fired home from inside the penalty area, and Raffael might have doubled their advantage six minutes later, but went agonisingly wide.

Cologne responded with Leonardo Bittencourt and Cordoba going close in quick succession, but Stindl forced Timo Horn to make a 71st-minute save with the game approaching a tense conclusion.

Milos Jojic might have snatched an equaliser 14 minutes from time, but there proved to be no way back for the visitors.

In the day's early match, Sebastien Haller struck the crossbar as Eintracht Frankfurt came close to victory at Freiburg.

The striker hit the woodwork with a right-foot shot 36 minutes into a game of few clear-cut chances which ultimately ended 0-0.

Defender Simon Falette had earlier headed just wide for the visitors, although Lukas Hradecky had to save from Freiburg's Tim Kleindienst on the stroke of half-time.

Marc-Oliver Kempf went close for the home side four minutes after the restart and Kevin-Prince Boateng almost broke the deadlock at the other end with 21 minutes remaining, but there was no separating the teams.

BVB upset with Barca over Dembele

Published in Featured
Sunday, 20 August 2017 19:05

Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has criticised Barcelona over their role in the Ousmane Dembele transfer saga.

The 20-year-old France midfielder is currently suspended by the Bundesliga club "until further notice" after Dortmund rejected a bid from Barcelona reportedly worth £90m.

Barcelona have targeted Dembele, along with Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, as replacements for Neymar after the Brazil superstar left for Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month.

in Germany, Watzke said: "I see the transfer probability of Ousmane Dembele under 50 per cent, so if we do, we will analyse whether we have to do something or not, and if we decide to do something else, then we certainly already have ideas

"It is not that Ous is making fun of us, he simply declines to do his job. That is a new quality...and we should also talk about the role of glorious FC Barcelona in this matter.

"'On Wednesday [August 9] we met with Barcelona's officials. Our positions were very far away from each other. Then, on Thursday, he did not show up at the training.

"The timing of these events is very curious. You don't believe a 20-year-old will refuse to go to training without his possible new club liking that?"

Zorc had said on Saturday that Dembele could be allowed to leave if Barcelona met their asking price and the player issued an apology, and that stance was confirmed by Watzke on Sunday.

"They must pay the fee we want for this player, who has four years left on his contract, after they received €222m for Neymar," he added.

"If they match our requirements soon then there will be a transfer. Otherwise, there won't be. Dembele would have to apologise to the team and the club."

Nasri set for Antalyaspor

Published in England Premier League
Sunday, 20 August 2017 19:03

Manchester City's Samir Nasri has arrived in Turkey to finalise a transfer to Super Lig side Antalyaspor.

Pep Guardiola last month told Nasri he was free to negotiate a move having spent last season on loan at Sevilla in La Liga.

The France midfielder was pictured on his arrival in Turkey on Sunday as a group of Antalyaspor supporters gathered to welcome him.

Among his team-mates at the Super Lig club will be Samuel Eto'o and former France team-mate Jeremy Menez.

Nasri, 30, joined City from Arsenal in 2011 and went on to win Premier League titles under Roberto Mancini and Mauricio Pellegrini.

But he left the Etihad for Sevilla last summer following Guardiola's arrival - against the wishes of the new manager - where he made 22 appearances and scored two goals in Spanish top flight.

Iniesta torn over Barca future

Published in Spain Primera Division
Sunday, 20 August 2017 19:01

Andres Iniesta has revealed he is considering leaving Barcelona when his contract is up next summer.

Iniesta is yet to follow Lionel Messi's lead and agree a new deal despite sporting director Robert Fernandez confidently predicting back in March the Barca captain would extend his stay.

The 33-year-old's haul of trophies in 15 years at the Nou Camp includes eight league titles and four in the Champions League.

But the World Cup-winning midfielder has told Spanish newspaper El Pais he is more torn than ever on his future.

"Right now, I have still not signed a new contract," he said. "I have felt many strange feelings for the first time, but I think this may be normal.

"This is a scenario that, probably three years ago, I could never have imagined. Let's say that I am considering my future when I didn't do it before."

Barca are continuing to pursue Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele, having sold Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for £198m.

MLS: Toronto continue to set pace

Published in America
Sunday, 20 August 2017 18:55

Toronto FC underlined their position as Eastern Conference leaders with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

While Toronto continue to set the pace at the top of the East - and in all of Major League Soccer - it was a third straight loss for Chicago, who have slipped down to third, nine points adrift.

Marky Delgado put Toronto ahead after 14 minutes, and although David Accam levelled early in the second half, goals from Nicolas Halser and Sebastian Giovinco secured the points.

Sporting Kansas City moved three points clear in the West with a 2-0 win over FC Dallas as the Houston Dynamo lost 2-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps, ending a six-game unbeaten run.

Sporting won with goals from Diego Rubio and Gerso Fernandes, while Houston were undone by Fredy Montero and Yordy Reyna before Romell Quioto pulled a goal back.

Orlando City's play-off hopes suffered another blow as they were held to a 1-1 draw by the Columbus Crew, who finished the match with 10 men.

Orlando dominated much of the night but trailed to Lalas Abubakar's 35th minute goal until Giles Barnes scored in the 67th minute. Harrison Afful was sent off for an elbow after video review with 13 minutes to go.

The Montreal Impact are up to sixth after a 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake, a fourth straight win which came via a brace from Ignacio Piatti and Anthony Jackson-Hamel's goal. Luis Silva scored for Salt Lake.

The Philadelphia Union missed the chance to go above Orlando as Chris Wondolowski's stoppage-time penalty denied them victory in a 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.

An own goal from Jared Watts handed DC United a rare win as they beat the Colorado Rapids 1-0 - their first victory since June 21.

Conte ditches the tracksuit and praises his Champions

Published in Football
Sunday, 20 August 2017 18:50

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte ditched the tracksuit and looked on as his side secured a dramatic three points against Spurs at Wembley.

Marcos Alonso’s stunning first half free kick had given the Blues the lead, but substitute Michy Batshuayi headed into his own net eight minutes before the end, giving Spurs hope of turning the game around.

It would be Alonso once more who would be the hero, however, as he fired under Hugo Lloris after Pedro played him in, to seal the win at Tottenham’s home for the season, Wembley Stadium.

On a high after a frantic end to the match, Conte had plenty of praise for his squad and their mentality on the day: “I want to thank my players, their commitment, desire and heart was incredible today.

“It wasn’t easy to play against Tottenham.

“They showed me that last season’s desire has stayed in their hearts. The fans were also incredible, they pushed us in every moment.”

When asked about the change from tracksuit to suit, Conte was asked if it was the suit that would stay: “Yeah… my players told me the same!”

Conte also singled out new boys Tiémoué Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata for individual praise: “Players like Bakayoko and Morata played a really good game, but they can improve a lot with our team.

“Bakayoko has worked a lot in the last 10 days and I saw great improvement. He must adapt to our idea of football, but I’m pleased.”

The Chelsea manager admits that there are still issues surrounding the club, but warned other clubs to remember that they are Champions for a reason.

“This is the perfect response from the champions. Don’t forget we are champions. For sure we have some problems but we are ready.

“I think the club is trying to do its best in the transfer market to improve this squad. But honestly, I must be happy.”

Ronald Koeman says Manchester City are a better team than last season – but still insists they have a key weakness that Everton can exploit.

The Toffees achieved one of the most notable results of last term when they defeated City 4-0 at Goodison Park having held Pep Guardiola’s side to a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the campaign.

Koeman and Guardiola know each other well from their Barcelona days, and the Dutchman is a big fan of his friend’s style of play.

But he also feels it gives hope to Premier League opponents, saying: “The way he likes to play is the most difficult way. It’s really a pleasure to see his teams playing football.

“They play with a lot of offensive players in the teams. The Premier League is strong physically on set-plays and they try to play with a high defence.

“There is always space behind, we know that, we remember that. When we played City at home we punished them for that but I still think the business they did in the summer, they are stronger than last year.”

Both teams have been busy in the transfer window and Everton’s latest recruit, record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson, is set to make his debut, probably off the bench.

City have been installed as title favourites, but Koeman is wary of reading too much into early results.

Guardiola won his first 10 games as City manager last season but his side eventually finished third, 15 points behind champions Chelsea.

“When we played Man City last season, I mentioned that we were really lucky to get one point out of that game, and on that day, they played fantastic football, and I said that they would be the big favourite to win the league,” recalled Koeman.

“After that they started to struggle. That’s football. You never know. It’s difficult to have predictions about who’s the strongest.

“After what I saw from different teams, I was impressed by (Manchester) United. I’m impressed by City. But maybe in two weeks or two months, it can be different. But of course they are strong.”

City began their campaign with a 2-0 win over Brighton, while Everton beat Stoke 1-0 and have also won three Europa League qualifiers.

The Toffees are yet to concede a goal, with new £25million goalkeeper Jordan Pickford settling in quickly.

Koeman knows City will be a big test of his team’s whole backline, saying: “If we get a clean sheet, I don’t know if it will be a miracle. Maybe yes. We are strong defensively but the key to get a good result is also what we are doing when we have the ball.”

Monday’s match, meanwhile, will be a first return to Manchester for Wayne Rooney since he left Old Trafford to rejoin his boyhood club.

But Koeman does not expect the occasion to have extra significance.

“It’s not the first time that he will play against City in that stadium,” said the Everton boss.

“He knows maybe the reception (he will get) but he’s such an experienced player that he will not sleep more difficult than he will sleep normally. Players like that platform to play football.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan says Manchester United must not getting carried away by their fine start to the Premier League campaign.

United matched their 4-0 season-opening win against West Ham by running riot in the closing stages at Swansea on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial added to Eric Bailly’s earlier finish in the final 10 minutes as United registered four goals in their opening two league fixtures for the first time in 110 years.

But Mkhitaryan promised United were not getting ahead of themselves, saying: “Let’s not rush because it’s only two games played.

“We still have 36 games to play in the Premier League.

“So let’s go just step by step to try and win every game and at the end see where we arrive.”

Summer signings Lukaku and Nemanja Matic have both hit the ground running after making respective moves from Everton and Chelsea.

Lukaku has scored three goals in two games and Matic has been a towering midfield figure in screening the back four and getting United on the front foot.

Mkhitaryan’s own performances, in contrast, have flown under the radar.

But the Armenian came up with two more assists at Swansea and has created four of United’s eight goals.

“I’m very happy I could assist twice but I enjoyed more of the teamwork than what I have done myself because football is a team sport,” Mkhitaryan told MUTV.

“Last year the atmosphere and environment in the team was amazing but this year it is much better.

“It’s not that something has changed but we have become more close to each other.

“Maybe that’s why our new signings have shown that everything is good and are helping us from the first game.

“We are very happy for Romelu and Nemanja that they are playing and I hope that Victor (Lindelof) is going to start playing as soon as he can.

“We are trying to support them to settle down quick because it’s very important for us that they show their best quality.”

Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen confirmed Chris Wood is almost certain to sign for Burnley after missing Leeds’ 2-0 win over Sunderland.
The writing appeared to be on the wall when Wood was omitted from the squad at the Stadium of Light, where Leeds maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign with a fine display.

And Christiansen revealed the player has rejected a new deal at Elland Road, with the club accepting a bid from the Clarets.

“The possibility to go to a Premier League club is interesting for him, and probably the money is also much better,” said the boss.

“But he was recognised and appreciated player at this club and everyone has to respect his decision.

“He’s a professional and if that’s his thought we have to respect it. I personally hope he will do fine. I don’t have anything against him, he’s a good guy, a good player and he’s given until now what I expected of him.

“Now he’s not part of the team so from now on I prepare not to speak about players who aren’t mine.”

Christiansen hinted Leeds will move quickly to bolster their attack – especially after Wood’s replacement, Caleb Ekuban, limped off injured in the second half.

“It’s obvious that we need to sign a striker,” he added, “and we’re in a little bit of a hurry because of the situation with Caleb.

“We’d been working on looking at players and we have a list of players who we have approached.”

Wood’s absence was hardly felt at Wearside, where goals from Saiz Alonso and Stuart Dallas secured the spoils.

Christiansen said: “I’m very happy. I can honestly say that after what happened in the last few days, to take the three points against a very good team, I’m delighted.

“I’m happy especially about the performance of the team and the big effort they made. We showed that it’s not a question about one player.

“We are a team, we worked as a team and we won as a team.”

Manchester City have had a bid of £18million rejected by fellow Premier League side West Brom for defender Jonny Evans, according to reports.

Pep Guardiola is keen on strengthening his options at centre-back with only John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, and Vincent Kompany to choose from as Eliaquim Mangala is set to leave the club.

All three started their first Premier League match against Brighton and now City are reportedly looking to step up their interest in Evans.

The Daily Mail claims that a bid of £18million was rejected by the Baggies and that the club are ‘determined not to sell’ with Tony Pulis already on the lookout for a centre-back himself.

Evans came through the Manchester United youth academy and made 198 appearances for the Red Devils with three Premier League titles under his belt.

He made the move to The Hawthorns in 2015 for £8million and the report continues by saying that it could take an offer of £25million for West Brom to start considering a sale.

Middlesbrough are reportedly demanding £30million for Ben Gibson – another reported City target – and that has led Guardiola to look at less costly options, including Evans.

The Baggies have already turned down a £10million offer from Leicester City for the Northern Irishman and Evans has spoken previously about the Foxes’ approach for his services.

“The club made me aware of it as soon as it happened and they informed me that they weren’t going to sell me,” the 29-year-old said.

“I have been made club captain this season so unless the club turn around and say they want to sell me nothing has changed from the last two seasons.”

Evans has two years remaining on his £75,000-a-week contract at West Brom and the club ‘have discussed’ offering the player improved terms, according to the report.


Conte ditches the tracksuit and praises his Champions

Conte ditches the tracksuit and praises his Champions

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte ditched the tracksuit and looked on as his side secured a dramatic thr...

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